May 7, 1943 – June 2, 2023
James William “Jim” Keller, of Richmond, Texas passed to Heaven at the age of 80 on June 2, 2023, at Houston Methodist Hospital after 30-year battle with heart disease.
Born on May 7, 1943, in Buffalo, New York, Jim graduated from Amherst Central High School in 1961 and from Valparaiso University in 1965 with a BS in Civil Engineering. Jim started his professional career in South Bend, Indiana as an assistant city engineer. He moved to design engineering as a branch office manager in Toledo, Ohio, Glens Falls, New York and Laconia, New Hampshire.
Jim arrived home in Houston, Texas in 1978 as a manager of a large engineering consulting firm. Houston gave Jim opportunities in design, industrial service, and land development. He managed projects for various cities, county, state, federal and international entities. Jim Keller was a registered professional engineer in five states. His expertise was wanted by the city planning and zoning boards where he lived. He spent 14 years on the Missouri City, Texas Planning and Zoning Commission including four years as Chairman.
In 2006, Jim retired from civil engineering to pursue his passion for sculpture. Jim created sculpturesof wood, bronze, stainless steel, and resin. Jim’s works are on public display across the country, including locally at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Jim was an active and passionate member of Memorial Lutheran Church of Houston, Texas. He attended 7:30 a.m. Bible Study for 20 years and served on committees and an usher for many years.
Jim served the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo on the Calf Scramble Committee, 4 years as Vice Chairman.
Jim had just returned on Friday, May 26th from Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park completing his bucket list of seeing all 50 States.
Jim leaves a legacy through the words of wisdom touched thousands of individuals driving by the sign at 212 Jackson Street in Richmond, Texas for countless years.
Jim is survived by his wife of 19 years, Rebecca Beard Junker. Jim had no children but was accepted by Becky’s family as their own. He is also survived by his stepson Eric Junker and wife, Amanda, of Sugar Land, Texas, his granddaughters, Adeline and Audrey Junker, of Sugar Land, Texas, whom he adored with all his heart. They will miss their “Jim” so much. Jim’s family also included in-laws Sidney and Sandy Beard, Bonnie Beard, and Tommy Beard; nieces and nephews, Mason Sydow, Sidney Drew Beard Wendy Bell and Kristin Morgan, and their children, Sophie, Owen, Avery, Austin, Makayla, Piper, Harper and Myles. Jim was predeceased in death by his parents Ruth Marie Fischer Keller and Harold Claire Keller of Snyder, New York. And his sister in-law Amelia Jo Beard.
Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, June 15, 2023, at Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77057. Visitation at 10 a.m. and Funeral Service 11 a.m. Jim will be laid to rest at 2:30 p.m. at the historic Brown-Beard Cemetery on Cummings Road, Needville, Texas (near Brazos Bend State Park).
Pallbearers serving are Clarence Kamba, David Duthu, Eric Junker, Sidney Beard, Mason Sydow and Zack Lambert. Services are under the direction of E.P. Compean Funeral Directors, 1223 6 th Street, Rosenberg, Texas 77471.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations may be made to any of the following: Memorial Lutheran Church & School, 5800 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77057, Concordia Theological Seminary, 6600 North Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825, or Valparaiso University for the benefit of the Civil Engineering Department. 1700 Chapel Drive., Valparaiso, Indiana 46383.
Memories and condolences may be written to Jim’s family at https://www.epcompean.com/obituaries/james-keller.